Mar 25, 2012

Wondrous (overlooked) Seasons of the Past: Sal Bando, 1973

Sal Bando is not usually a name when one thinks of dominant hitters of the '70s.  Usually there are names like Morgan, Bench, Schmidt, Jackson, and Rice that probably come to mind first.   There was a stretch from 1969-1974 where Bando was always among the best in the league.  For a full rundown of his career exploits, read my previous post.   

In 1973, though, Bando could probably lay claim to being the best hitting player in the American League.  He only led the league in two counting stats or average categories (total bases and doubles).  However, it was his well-rounded contribution that led him to leading the league in the hitting component category of WAR.  He was 8th in OBP, 3rd in SLG, 5th in OPS (2nd in OPS+), 9th in at-bats, 5th in runs, 7th in hits, 4th in HR and RBI, and 7th in BB.

If there was a category that represented hitting in an excellent manner, he was among the leaders for this year.  Historically, the raw numbers don't stack up to other luminous hitting seasons, but for this hitting era, it was excellent, especially for the American League.  During 1973, most of the great hitting years were in the National League.  What also put his great year into context was the adjusted OPS of 150+ (where 100 is league average).  This is an ballpark-adjusted figure and his increase in rank from OPS shows the difficulty in hitting the Athletics stadium  (for reference, the one year park factor for the coliseum for hitters was 88 (which I think means it was 12% harder for a hitter to hit in than the average ballpark in 1973).  Sal Bando had a great year in context and continued his power surge in the ALCS as he hit two more home runs.  

 It's not always the all-time greats of the game that rise to top of their league for a season and they are all worth remembering.

1 comment:

Fuji said...

It's nice to see some of the lesser known players in the spotlight. As an A's fan... his contributions to those championship teams in the 70's is well known.